Bengaluru: It has been more than a year since the state government under Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, banned the usage and manufacturing of plastic bags, but most of it continues to remains only on paper, with many vendors and merchants flouting it.
Mahesh Kashyap, a consultant with the Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD), is upset with the slow enforcement of the ban even after a year.
“While having a lunch at Indiranagar I saw food items being packed in plastic bags. Most of the shops are blatantly using plastic. Initially, KSPCB officials went around and fined some of the shops, but now the raids it seems are stopped,” Kashyap lamented.
As per the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the city generates 4,000 metric tons of municipal solid waste, out of which 350-400 metric tons are of plastic.
The plastic waste also leads to the clogging of sewers and drains and during the heavy showers on August 14, when half of the city was inundated, BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad had blamed e-commerce industries and malls for dumping thermocol and plastic wastes in the drains.
Apart from taking on BBMP, which he believes has failed in enforcing the ban, IISC scientist T.V. Ramachandra also blamed the citizens, who still carry food items in poly bags. Ramachandra said, “The civic authorities are responsible for not being effective in implementing the ban. The manufacturing of the plastic bags should be stopped at first instance. This is the same story as that of PoP Ganesha idols, where despite a ban these idols came out in the market.”
Commenting on the health hazards posed by the usage of plastic, he said that if food is carried in plastic bags, it will add carcinogen which can cause cancer.
Prior to 2016, plastic bags less than 40 microns in thickness were banned, but in May 2016 the state government had imposed a blanket ban on the sale and manufacture of all plastic bags.